Position Statements

ATA on Bow Draw Weight Minimum

In hopes of stimulating awareness and improved customer confidence and compliance through reductions in regulatory complexity, your ATA initiated the development of recommended equipment standards to guide bowhunting regulation development in the US as part of the ATA Strategic Planning implemented in August of 2018. Most states (33/50) specify a minimum poundage draw weight that must be used for hunting. Eleven states are silent on required minimums, and six states have no minimum draw weight. Specified draw weights include 30lb, 35lb and 40lb minimums for White-tailed deer. For states desiring to adopt a minimum draw weight standard, ATA recommends that a 30# minimum draw weight be used for typical big game hunting.

-May 20, 2019

Read more about bowhunting equipment standards.

ATA on Crossbows

The ATA believes that crossbows are viable shooting and hunting equipment that provide opportunity for a segment of America’s hunters and recreational shooters. As a result of the Pittman-Robertson Act, crossbows are subject to the Federal excise tax and thus, are considered archery equipment by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state wildlife agencies. The ATA leaves the seasons and regulations governing the use of crossbows for hunting to each state wildlife agency. ATA believes that when populations of wildlife, like deer, are overabundant, state agencies should make use of every type of hunting equipment to help control and manage those populations. -June 26, 2008

Defined by the ATA Board of Directors in March 2016, a crossbow is defined as:

A device for propelling an arrow, bolt or quarrel with the following characteristics: 
1. Makes use of the string, energy storing limb characteristics, and geometry of a longbow, a recurve bow or a compound bow, which is affixed to a stock.
2. The act of drawing requires that the crossbow be capable of being drawn by pulling the string into a trigger mechanism with the user’s own force (possibly augmented with mechanical advantage or other draw assist), where the string is locked in its fully drawn state by the trigger mechanism.
3. The user does not have to continue to exert personal force to hold the string in the fully drawn position after the string has been engaged by the trigger mechanism.
4. The device is fired by the user actuating the trigger mechanism.
5. Actuation of the trigger mechanism releases the string, and the arrow, bolt or quarrel is propelled forward by the elastic characteristic and the resiliency of the bow’s limbs, with the propelling force transferred to the arrow, bolt, or quarrel through direct physical contact from the string.

Read the Crossbow Position FAQ

ATA on Airbows

The ATA has been asked by its members as well as by representatives of state wildlife agencies, for the ATA’s opinion regarding whether airbows constitute archery equipment. While the ATA certainly recognizes the airbow to be an innovative piece of shooting equipment, the airbow nevertheless lacks the basic components of standard archery equipment (e.g., a string system and limbs).  For this reason, the ATA does not consider airbows to be archery equipment, nor does it support the use of them in archery seasons.

In addition, the airbow (unlike archery equipment) is not subject to Federal excise tax, the basic funding mechanism for state wildlife agency activities, which means that no portion of the proceeds from airbow purchases contribute to the state wildlife conservation activities supported by Pittman Robertson funds – at least not to the ATA’s knowledge. As a consequence, airbows do not appear to be treated as archery equipment by either the Internal Revenue Service or the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

-February 20, 2018